The Cleveland Indians must make Zach Plesac the No. 2 starter in a three-game postseason series.
The Cleveland Indians offense may be spiraling haplessly toward the postseason, but the playoffs are on the horizon, none-the-less, thanks to more great starting pitching.
Fresh off throwing an immaculate inning against the Detroit Tigers Friday, there shouldn’t be any question as to who starts Game 2 of a three-game first-round postseason series: Zach Plesac.
The Indians currently hold the No. 7 seed, but are just two games behind the Twins for second-place in the AL Central. Minnesota currently has the second seed. In this new postseason format, the second place teams are all guaranteed a higher seed than the wild cards, even if the wild cards have a better record.
So if the postseason started, today, the No. 2 White Sox would daw the Indians.
And if you’ve got to win two-of-three, who are you taking to the bump? Mike Clevinger would be optimal, but I digress.
Shane Bieber is the favorite to win the Cy Young Award and is basically a lock to start the series opener. After that, the Tribe can pick between several good options, including Plesac, Carlos Carrrasco, Aaron Civale and Triston McKenzie.
Here’s why Plesac needs to pitch Game 2: The Indians offense? Well, it still stinks. If I could spot the opposing team three or four runs, sure, I’d start Carrasco in Game 2. Alas, Cleveland’s bats are going to be hard pressed to score one, so I need someone who limits runs. Enter Plesac.
I know–there’s the whole Corona fiasco where he skipped out on his teammates. But it’s over. The penalty has been served. The team wants to win, and they have to know Plesac helps them do that.
The hard-throwing right-hander has a 1.85 ERA through seven starts, spanning 48.2 innings. Among pitchers who’ve tossed at least 40 innings, Plesac’s ERA is the third best mark in the big leagues, trailing only Trevor Bauer (1.71) and Shane Bieber (1.74).
With a one-two punch of Bieber and Plesac, one would have to think the Indians offense could squeak out just enough offense to win at least one of those games.
For Game 3, I’d probably give the ball to Carrasco, because he’s the veteran who’s played int he postseason before. McKenzie should be used as a weapon out of the bullpen, because outside of James Karinchak, the Tribe does not have an arm that come in and just blow batters away.